Are you preparing for a long flight with your baby? While the thought of traveling with a little one can be daunting, there are ways to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable for everyone involved.
One of the most important factors to consider is your baby’s sleep. A well-rested baby is more likely to be happy, content, and cooperative during the flight, and a good night’s sleep will also help them adjust to the new time zone once they arrive at your destination.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the challenges of getting a baby to sleep on a plane, and provide practical advice and tips for maximizing their sleep and comfort. So sit back, buckle up, and let’s get started!
Preparation is key to ensuring your baby has a good sleep experience on a long flight. From choosing the right flight time to selecting the right seat, there are a number of steps you can take to create the best possible environment for your baby’s sleep.
Choosing the Right Flight Time
One of the first things to consider when preparing for a long flight with your baby is the flight time. Ideally, you want to choose a flight that coincides with your baby’s normal sleep schedule, so that they are able to get a good night’s sleep. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Fly During Your Baby’s Normal Sleep Time: If your baby usually sleeps from 7 pm to 7 am, then consider scheduling your flight during that time. This will allow them to sleep as much as possible, and will also help them adjust to the new time zone once you arrive.
Avoid Red-Eye Flights: Red-eye flights, which depart late in the evening and arrive in the early hours of the morning, are often the cheapest option, but they are not the best choice for traveling with a baby. Not only is it difficult for babies to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings, but exposure to light and noise can also interfere with their sleep.
Selecting the Right Seat
The next step is to choose the right seat for your baby. Depending on your budget and travel plans, there are a few options to consider, each with its own advantages and disadvantages:
Bulkhead Seats: Bulkhead seats, which are located at the front of the cabin, offer a little more space for your baby to stretch out and move around. They also often come with a bassinet, which can be a convenient place for your baby to sleep during the flight. Just be aware that these seats tend to be more expensive, and you’ll need to book them in advance.
Skycots or Bassinets: If you’re traveling on a long-haul flight, you may want to reserve a skycot or bassinet in advance. These are special cots that attach to the bulkhead, and they offer a safe and comfortable place for your baby to sleep during the flight. Just be aware that these are in high demand, so you’ll need to book early to ensure availability.
Packing the Right Items
Finally, it’s important to pack the right items to help your baby sleep and stay comfortable during the flight. Here are a few items to consider:
Essential Items for Sleep and Comfort: You’ll want to pack items that will help your baby sleep and stay comfortable, such as a favorite blanket or toy, a pacifier, and a bottle if you’re breastfeeding. You should also bring extra diapers, wipes, and changes of clothes, as well as any other items your baby may need during the flight.
Familiar Blanket or Toy: It’s always a good idea to bring a familiar blanket or toy for your baby, as these can help provide comfort and security in unfamiliar surroundings. Just be prepared to replace these items if they get lost or misplaced during the flight.
With the right preparation, you can help your baby sleep soundly and comfortably on a long flight. So don’t be afraid to get creative, and try out different strategies and techniques to see what works best for you and your little one.
During the Flight
Once you’re on the flight, there are a number of things you can do to help your baby sleep and stay comfortable. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Creating a Sleep Environment
The first step is to create a sleeping environment for your baby. Here are a few ways to do this:
Use a Blanket or Shawl: A soft blanket or shawl can be used to create a cozy, enclosed space for your baby to sleep in. You can wrap the blanket around your baby, or use it to create a barrier between them and the outside world.
Wear Your Baby: If you’re traveling with a baby who is less than 6 months old, you may want to consider wearing them in a baby carrier. Not only is this a convenient way to keep your hands free, but it can also help your baby sleep more comfortably and securely.
Use a Baby Headrest or Pillow: A baby headrest or pillow can be used to support your baby’s head and neck and can help prevent them from waking up with a sore neck or back.
Managing Feedings and Diapering
Managing feedings and diapering can be a challenge on long flights, but there are a few things you can do to make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Feeding Your Baby
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of opportunities to nurse your baby during the flight. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Nurse Before the Flight: Nursing your baby before the flight can help them stay full and content during takeoff and landing when the pressure changes can cause discomfort.
Nurse During the Flight: You can nurse your baby as often as needed during the flight, and many airlines will provide a private area for you to do so.
Pack Snacks: If you’re formula feeding or supplementing with formula, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of formula and bottled water with you on the flight.
Diapering Your Baby
Diapering your baby during a flight can be a challenge, but there are a few things you can do to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Pack Plenty of Diapers: Make sure you have plenty of diapers and wipes with you on the flight, as it can be difficult to find these items once you’re in the air.
Use a Changing Pad: A portable changing pad can be a lifesaver on long flights, as it provides a clean and comfortable surface for you to change your baby on.
Consider a Diaper Pail: A portable diaper pail can be a useful tool for storing dirty diapers during the flight. This can help keep your surroundings clean and odor-free and makes it easy to dispose of dirty diapers once you land.
Keeping Your Baby Entertained
Keeping your baby entertained during a long flight can be a challenge, but there are a few things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable for both you and your little one. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Pack Toys and Books
Pack a few of your baby’s favorite toys and books to keep them entertained during the flight. You may also consider packing new toys or books to keep things fresh and exciting.
Simple games like peek-a-boo or singing songs can help keep your baby entertained and engaged during the flight.
If possible, take your baby for walks up and down the aisle during the flight. This can help keep them stimulated and prevent them from getting fussy or restless.
Staying comfortable during a long flight can be a challenge, but there are a few things you can do to make the experience as comfortable as possible for both you and your baby. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Wear Comfortable Clothes
Wear comfortable, stretchy clothing that is easy to move around in, as you may need to bend, twist, and move to attend to your baby’s needs.
Use a Baby Carrier
A baby carrier can be a useful tool for keeping your baby close to you during the flight and can help free up your hands for other tasks.
Pack a Blanket
Pack a lightweight blanket for your baby, as well as a blanket or sweater for yourself. The cabin temperature can vary greatly during a flight, and having a blanket on hand can help keep you and your baby comfortable.
Keeping Your Baby Safe
Keeping your baby safe during a long flight is of the utmost importance. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Use a Car Seat
If possible, use a car seat on the flight to keep your baby secure and protected. Make sure to choose a car seat that is approved for use on aircraft.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Pack a first-aid kit and make sure you know how to respond in case of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the safety features and emergency procedures of the aircraft.
Be Mindful of the Altitude
Be aware of the effects of high altitude on your baby, and make sure they are properly hydrated and breathing normally.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your long flight with your baby is as safe, comfortable, and enjoyable as possible. With a little preparation and a positive attitude, you can make the most of your time in the air and arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to start your next adventure.
Traveling with a baby can be a challenge, but with a little preparation, it can also be a wonderful experience. By keeping your baby well-fed, hydrated, and entertained, you can make the most of your time in the air and ensure that everyone arrives at their destination feeling happy and refreshed.
In addition, by taking steps to ensure your own comfort and safety, you can make the experience of flying with a baby as stress-free as possible. Remember to pack the essentials, such as diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes, and be prepared for any contingencies that may arise.
With these tips in mind, you can approach your long flight with confidence, knowing that you are well-equipped to handle any challenges that may come your way. So go ahead, pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure with your little one!